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  1. #1
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    Default The twitter generation: A generation of detached idiots? Bill Nye collapses

    *Apolitical post*

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_theloo...-did-it-happen

    If the Science Guy passes out and nobody tweets it, did it happen?

    Last night in front of an audience of hundreds at a presentation at the University of Southern California, TV personality Bill Nye — popularly known as the "Science Guy" — collapsed midsentence as he walked toward a podium. Early indications are that Nye is OK, but what's odd about the incident isn't so much Nye's slight health setback as the crowd's reaction. Or, more precisely, its nonreaction, according to several accounts.

    It appears that the students in attendance, rather than getting up from their seats to rush to Nye's aid, instead pulled out their mobile devices to post information about Nye's loss of consciousness.

    Alastair Fairbanks, a USC senior in attendance for Nye's presentation, told the Los Angeles Times that "nobody went to his aid at the very beginning when he first collapsed — that just perplexed me beyond reason." The student added, "Instead, I saw students texting and updating their Twitter statuses. It was just all a very bizarre evening."

    [Rewind: Joe Biden's quick response to onstage fainting]

    Indeed, a cursory search on Twitter revealed a virtual play-by-play account of the incident. One student wrote, "Bill Nye tripped on his computer cord while speaking at USC, was out for abt 5 secs, got back up, spoke w/ slurred speech and fainted."

    According to the school's student news outlet, the Daily Trojan, Nye asked, "What happened? How long was I out?" when he regained consciousness. Briskly picking up his humorous persona, he added, "Wow, that was crazy. I feel like Lady Gaga or something." Nye's publicity team didn't immediately respond to The Lookout's request for comment on the episode.

    [Rewind: NBA coach faints at practice]

    Still, in the annals of the digital public's civic indifference, the Nye incident is nowhere near as disturbing as another episode reported in New Orleans earlier this week, which oddly enough also involved a humorist. Anthony Barre, a New Orleans man popular for his acid-tongued comic performances on YouTube using the handle "Messy Mya," was murdered on the streets of the city's 7th Ward — the historically Creole neighborhood chronicled in the HBO series "Treme." As he lay dying, witnesses at the scene took to the Internet to chronicle the tragedy in real time, even posting photos of his body lying in a pool of blood.

    Here's how the Times-Picayune's Brendan McCarthy described the incident:

    Moments after gunshots roared through the 7th Ward on Sunday night, a lone snapshot appeared on the Internet.

    In it, a 22-year-old man is lying cheek to the ground, crimson pooling around his neck. His eyes are closed, his torso curled.

    Chaos explodes around him, with the arms of others pressed to the back of his head. And someone is holding a cell phone just inches from his face.

    This is how the world learned of Messy Mya's death.

    Prior to this week's episodes, perhaps the best-known incident of youthful digital passivity in the face of danger was the September 2007 tasing of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer at a speech delivered by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry. That episode immortalized the expression "Don't tase me, bro!" The crowd of onlookers trying to capture the encounter on their cellphone cameras later prompted Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert to imagine the internal monologue of a bored-looking kid seated next to Meyer thusly: "He's thinking, 'I wish they'd stop tasing this guy, so I can get home and watch him being tased on YouTube.' "

    (Photo of Nye: AP/Michael O'Koniewski)
    I believe the verdict is... YES!

    Now granted, it is a known phenomena across all generations and most cultures that there will be some diffusion of responsibility when people witness a crime or mishap such as the two mentioned in this story, and people may generally be confused about what's going on or what they should do as it first unfolds. However, to take pictures of a dead man and twitter it as your primary concern might just speak volumes about the current state of American culture, particularly among millennials.

  2. #2
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    I'm freaked out by this. Seriously. *head shake*

    Does this make them officially twitter-brained?
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  3. #3
    On a mission Usehername's Avatar
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    Is this any different than past generations?

    Let's not forget the infamous Kitty Genovese murder in NYC witnessed by countless people in 1964. Psychologists have replicated it in many studies. It's called the Bystander Effect.


    Diffusion of responsibility is a social phenomenon which tends to occur in groups of people above a certain critical size when responsibility is not explicitly assigned. This phenomenon rarely ever occurs in small groups. In tests, groups of three or fewer, everyone in the group took action as opposed to groups of over ten where in almost every test, no one took action. This mindset can be seen in the phrase "No one raindrop thinks it caused the flood". Knowing this, it is always important to respond to emergencies such as a car accident in the light of the mindset, "Well there's so many people driving past this, surely someone has called 911."
    -Wikipedia on Diffusion of Responbility

    [Depressing as hell, yes. Can we blame it on Twitter? Doubtful.]
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    *Faith is the art of holding on to things your reason once accepted, despite your changing moods.
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  4. #4
    Emerging Tallulah's Avatar
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    This deeply disturbs me.

    I am glad, however that we have things like the Zapruder tape, and someone who had the presence of mind to keep filming amidst the confusion. But our culture has changed a lot since then. I don't like that we've all turned into a society of nasty, voyeuristic vultures who have lost our humanity and would rather think about our possible shot at fame than about helping our fellow man.
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    Usehername is correct, this sort of thing has gone on for quite some time. The thing is though in that case is that the people were outright ignoring it. What's different about this is the fixation toward what is happening whilst depersonalizing the victim. It's objectifying other people, plain and simple.

    I see hints of this mentality a lot on-line. "It's just the Internet." True, it is just the Internet, and so there is a sort of detachment that everyone has with strangers, but we're also human beings here on-line, it's not like we're robots or characters in a video game.

  6. #6
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    Yeah this sort of thing has been going on for ages. Diffusing of responsibility isn't just exclusive to large social groups. If someone assumes that an "invisible hand" is working it's charm, or that some sort of determined cause and effect is going on, then it becomes a temptation to shirk accountability. The observer becomes passive and guiltless.

    The fact that the world is becoming more homogeneous through the internet should be noted, though. It may be true that with the crutch of the internet comes a sort of cluelessness and a hampering of one's own ability to reason. Narratives and moral codes may be locked within cyberspace, while we fumble to search for the answers that should be self-evident.

    Is one's sense of identity lost in cyberspace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallulah View Post
    This deeply disturbs me.

    I am glad, however that we have things like the Zapruder tape, and someone who had the presence of mind to keep filming amidst the confusion. But our culture has changed a lot since then. I don't like that we've all turned into a society of nasty, voyeuristic vultures who have lost our humanity and would rather think about our possible shot at fame than about helping our fellow man.
    I don't think we're vultures, I think we're sheep. If one doesn't have a sense of identity other than a series of internet personas, then how can one claim incumbency for anything other than online activity?

    I know my example is extreme, but there must be at least a tinge of truth to it.

  7. #7
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    I agree with all posts. Since as much the bystander effect comes in to play, which I myself several times has been guilty in, I find this kind of twittering to be horrific. These people did act, but only for personal gain, not out of empathy or because it was a story needed to be told.

  8. #8
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    If you do nothing it's the bystander effect, if you go immediantly to ones aid you have a helper complex, I think this aint eaten as hot as its cooked.

    What I find more shocking is that so many people have a kind of voyeuristic tendency to sign up for a twitter account in the first place. I have definitly lost the pace with all those new social media things emerging from nowhere and I will never be intrested in them, in all my life. It's shocking to me that the opposite of my attitude is the more common one
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Usehername View Post
    Is this any different than past generations?

    Let's not forget the infamous Kitty Genovese murder in NYC witnessed by countless people in 1964. Psychologists have replicated it in many studies. It's called the Bystander Effect.
    There are lots of problems with the Kitty Genovese story, as documented on wiki and on this site, in terms of the facts and how it was presented (although the Bystander Effect is very real).

    I found Barre's death described in the article above far more disturbing -- because it was clear that people knew and saw what happened and were RIGHT THERE, as opposed to the Genovese thing... yet immediately had to record the event for posterity instead of being overwhelmed by it or engaging the situation.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I found Barre's death described in the article above far more disturbing -- because it was clear that people knew and saw what happened and were RIGHT THERE, as opposed to the Genovese thing... yet immediately had to record the event for posterity instead of being overwhelmed by it or engaging the situation.
    Yep, its rather disturbing. Its paparazzi mentality, like lions devouring the prey from its dignity. Stories need to be documented, but with respect for the people involved dead or alive. In todays media landscape a story loses its importance as soon as it happens almost.

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